Installation view of "Dogma", 2012
Courtesy of Metro Pictures Gallery, New York

Rank 6: “Dogma” at
Metro Pictures Gallery,
New York

July 28 2012
3:51 PM

Metro Pictures’ exhibition “Dogma” proves that man’s best friend and man’s best artwork needn’t be mutually exclusive. Opting out of the over-determined, literary conceits so typical of messy summer group shows, Swiss Institute director and “Dogma” curator Gianni Jetzer instead gives grand, glossy gallery treatment to the dumbest and most populist of subjects: dogs—in paint, photographs, installation, performance, and other media. William Wegman is of course represented, but more surprising artist inclusions keep the proceedings from seeming one-note or reductive.

Haim Steinbach has made a career of tastefully minimal installations appropriating consumer goods. Here, he features dog chews spread out over a low platform. Finishing off A military theme (2008) are two upright skeletal bed frames leaning against the wall like twins, keeping his trademark oh-so-elegant formalism intact and tangentially dog-related. Elsewhere, Claire Fontaine has made a surprising offer to potential collectors: the Paris-based collaborative will render one’s pet in neon tubing, hung—like many of Fontaine’s more common Marxist phrases—on the wall in pink and blue, a surprisingly hilarious, even kitschy, twist to a rigorously critical practice. Gestures like these make “Dogma” the summeriest of summer group shows, one for which the most serious of artists take a breather from workaday polemicism. (David Everitt Howe)